Discussion Questions – Jennae Cohen

1. In thinking about Gloria Anzaldúa’s article, should all teachers, particularly those who work in a school where English is not the dominant language, be bi-lingual or multi-lingual? Furthermore, should all teachers be required to teach all content in both English(or another language) and the language that is dominant or that exists within the surrounding community? (ie. switch from English to Spanish and vice versa for an entire math class). 

2. Comangian writes that as teachers we must help students develop academic skills and critical consciousness to transform the world our students live in. Is it enough for one teacher to do this in one English class? What do you say to the Math teacher who claims to “not have the time” or to the administrators whose main concerns are getting students to pass the state exams? What does this type of pedagogy look like at the whole school level? How could we transform the schools we work in to teach in this way, collectively?

Group members: Olivia, Felicia, Alanna, Madison



Discussion Q’s: Kunjufu, Collins, Krauss (Rose). Group Members: Olivia, Alanna, Felicia, Madison


1. Jawanza Kunjufu argues, “No significant learning takes place without a significant relationship (103).  (Please also see Rita Peirson, Every Kid Needs a Champion. ) Patricia Hill Collins argues that in order to build an effective coalition for social change, one must be self-reflective, develop empathy for differences, and move outside our areas of specialization or interests in order to come together over one common goal.

How do you see high-stakes testing and/or the recent introduction of the Common Core playing a role in current relationships that exist between teachers and students or amongst teacher cohorts in our education system? Can an authentic, effective coalition exist amongst teachers and students given our value for high-stakes testing? Why or why not?

2. Valerie Strauss critiques character education in saying that “we have to be very careful…not to assume we have the long-awaited key to helping the poor overcome the assaults of poverty” and that “It is this aura of the new that contributes to a belief that we might have found a treatment for the achievement gap.” Do you agree with Strauss in her critique? Why or why not? If you do, how can we transform the way we (as educators) talk about and assess cognitive/non-cognitive skills in a way that might contribute to social transformation for low-income students?In thinking about this question, please also consider: Angela Lee Duckworth: the key to success? Grit.

– Jennae

Discussion Q’s by Jennae Cohen

My apologies for the late post! Had troubles posting. Here are my q’s for my group for this weeks readings of Friere and Bourdieu…

Our current education system is adjusting to the demands of a new reform program called “Race to the Top”—a program that in theory should provide equitable opportunities for success for all students. Still, our education system places high value on standardized testing—a controversial topic that often brings up conversations that sound familiar to Frieire’s “banking model” of education.

1. If Freire were around today, what do you think he would say about this national program? What or who exactly is at the “Top,” and how can those who are at the “bottom” enact “pedagogy of the oppressed” (assuming those at the bottom are indeed oppressed) to “race” to the top?

2. Educational credentials, according to Bourdieu reproduce social inequalities and are mechanisms through which wealth and power are transmitted. How might the RttT program perpetuate or break down this theory about education and social mobility?